Study says MRSA can jump from animals to humans

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A new study using gene sequencing finds the superbug MRSA can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Researchers in England and Denmark used whole genome sequencing to establish the animal-to-human transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the MRSA bacteria.

“Our findings demonstrate that the MRSA strains we studied are capable of transmission between animals and humans, which highlights the role of livestock as a potential reservoir of antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” says Ewan Harrison, lead author of the study and a scientist at the University of Cambridge. The study was published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The New York Times reports that Louise M. Slaughter, (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Agency Commission Margaret Hamburg calling for immediate action to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock.

Slaughter says the study, conducted on two small farms in Denmark, “ends any debate” about whether giving antibiotics to livestock is a risk to humans. “The extreme overuse of antibiotics in livestock is endangering human health,” Slaughter says.

Keeve Nachman, a scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, says scientists had shown a connection between animals and people before, but never in as much detail.



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shaun evertson    
Nebraska  |  April, 02, 2013 at 09:43 AM

One has to wonder whether politicians such as slaughter are dense enough to actually believe their rhetoric or are merely doing the filthy work of carrying water for the neo-luddite green movement. One also wonders how many Americans continue to swallow ideological pseudo-science and how many are developing a healthy skepticism about this kind of nonsense. Does this study tell us anything important about dangerous pathogens? Of course not. There's very little matter in the environment which is not "potentially a reservoir of antibiotic-resistant bacteria." Since methicillin isn't used to treat livestock, and since humans are the most likely vector for MRSA found in livestock, the political characterization of this finding as "settling the science" is laughable. Settled science has always proven to be anything but settled, from the geocentricity of the universe to catastrophic man-made global warming. How do two small farms in Denmark compare to to thousands of human hospitals as repositories of MRSA. Most second-graders should be able to understand where the potential risk resides. Politicians and journalists who twist and repackage information to suit their ideological purpose should be treated as the villains they are.

Val    
Winnipeg, Manitoba  |  April, 02, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Well said Shaun!

Clark    
April, 02, 2013 at 02:38 PM

Well then, Louise Slaughter should march right over to Denmark and force them to reduce antibiotic use in livestock. Oh, wait, Denmark already did that years ago! And this is the outcome. In years to come we will recognize more and more critical shortcomings of "greens" forcefully intruding themselves into, what is for them the great mystical unknown. Disaster is certain to follow. That is always the outcome whenever the biased lead the blind in any hysterical mob action. Fools. Evil fools.

shaun evertson    
Nebraska  |  April, 03, 2013 at 08:54 AM

++

Wayne K.    
Indiana, USA  |  April, 03, 2013 at 10:11 AM

There is a great product made here in Indiana, MonoFoil Antimicrobial, which may be sprayed on livestock to eliminate MRSA and Staph on the coat of the animal. It is non-leaching, no poisons, or heavy metals. Will not allow for super-bugs to breed as it mechanically emplodes the bacteria and fungus. More information may be found at www.texontowel.com. May be applied prior to slaughter. Has also been used as preventive care for horse pads, on saddlery and in stalls.

Lee    
Dublin  |  April, 04, 2013 at 09:22 PM

This piece of reporting on the opinions of this insane lunatic is beyond the pale. The fact that her opinions are given value is incredible-- Way to go Drovers! I have an idea, why not stick to reporting on cattle and let the eco-freaks destroy this country on their own.

Jess    
New Zealand  |  April, 06, 2013 at 01:28 PM

If you read the whole article, not just the abstract, the authors state that the findings cannot be generalised to all animal antioibiotic use, cannot assume the commonality of this sort of event nor does the study have an explanation for the virulence of the bacteria in the humans vs animals, despite the nearly identical genomic properties. While drovers is commenting on politicians grabbing one small study and trying to make policy out of it which is news, I suggest that it look at the true science behind this study before giving one comment that generalises it more ( support from Johns Hopkins). Think before you print! And perhaps have some scientists on your staff to review this sort of research before reporting in it.

Jess    
New Zealand  |  April, 06, 2013 at 01:28 PM

If you read the whole article, not just the abstract, the authors state that the findings cannot be generalised to all animal antioibiotic use, cannot assume the commonality of this sort of event nor does the study have an explanation for the virulence of the bacteria in the humans vs animals, despite the nearly identical genomic properties. While drovers is commenting on politicians grabbing one small study and trying to make policy out of it which is news, I suggest that it look at the true science behind this study before giving one comment that generalises it more ( support from Johns Hopkins). Think before you print! And perhaps have some scientists on your staff to review this sort of research before reporting in it.

Chris    
Texas  |  April, 06, 2013 at 03:05 PM

I agree. Read the actual research. Editors please provide link to actual data if available. Animal agriculture successfully reduces antibiotic usage by providing better animal environments, better nutrition, and better vaccine strategies. Antibiotics should be available for treatment of clinical disease under a veterinary client patient relationship. Antibiotics cost money, and agricultural producers and veterinarians that fail to fully recognize the cost of inadequate prevention and disease will eventually lose the economic tug of war with poorer outcomes. We need to keep an open view of this issue, yet protect the judicious use of antibiotics. Agriculture needs to embrace science, and not always take it as an offense. Antibiotic free animals that are healthy should be worth more money. In many cases they are!

Greg Henderson    
Kansas City  |  April, 06, 2013 at 07:25 PM

This is a news story. There was no commentary included. We reported the facts and any newsworthy comments we had at the time it was published. Whether or not the study was valid in the eyes of scientists is not relevant to the fact that this was and is news that the livestock industries need to know.

gm    
pa  |  April, 07, 2013 at 08:28 AM

Johns Hopkins Univ. is not the same as Johns Hopkins Bloombergs School of Public Health. the Center for a Liveable Future (CLF) is a division of JHBSPH that was created and funded in the 90's by Henry Spira ("Father of the Modern Animal Rights Movement" and founder of Animal Rights International) for the specific purpose of attacking modern animal agriculture . Most of the funding today still comes from the animal rights movement. The CLF is also the group who started the current Meatless Monday Campaign. They started and helped fund the "research" project of Pew Commission on Industrial Animal Agric., which had many of their staff, supporters and input. We must all realize that this is very biased and definitely agenda driven with the intent of scaring the public and putting animal ag out of business. Having said this - the judicious use of antibiotics for humans and animal health is important and for the most part is well received by today's farmers and ranchers. Antibiotic resistance is not a new issue. Neither is zoonoses - no fear necessary, just education for all (ag producers and consumers alike).

Smithg47    
March, 29, 2014 at 04:39 AM

Very nice! bbadbedafe


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